“Although humanitarian assistance directly reaches to us, it is required to coordinate with the government. It is a tradition to work together with Union government in providing assistance.”

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In calling for international intervention, 440 civil society organizations from Myanmar, the region and around the world delivered an open letter to the member countries of UN General Assembly on 17 October.

The letter said that Myanmar military is restricting, seizing and destroying humanitarian aid for the displaced persons, using humanitarian aid as weapons of war

This interview with Colonel Saw Kyaw Nyunt, spokesperson of Peace Process Steering Committee (PPST), is about difficulties in providing humanitarian assistance to civilians, coordination with military council and coverage of assistance.

 TLT: It is learnt that the military council and PPST are jointly providing humanitarian assistance. Could you talk about it?

Colonel Saw Kyaw Nyunt: Humanitarian assistance is not a new issue. We have done for more than one or two years. While  PPST cannot implement NCA, we work for protection of civilians in line with the agreement in the treaty. But we could not carry out this task in full swing as expected.

 Each of our team members  are providing humanitarian assistance under the issue of protecting civilians. Our missions will be in different way depending on the geographical situations and specific needs. We have exact plan to deliver humanitarian assistance provided by Nippon Foundation in respective territories of our members.

Than Lwin Times: Is negotiation with the military council needed to provide humanitarian assistance to civilians?

Colonel Saw Kyaw Nyunt: Although humanitarian assistance directly reaches to us, it is required to coordinate with the government. It is a tradition to work together with Union government in providing assistance. But we cannot do it at the border areas. We need to negotiation with the Union government and with local governments in some cases. Donors also cooperate with us in delivering assistance.

TLT: To what extent has the delivery of humanitarian assistance of NCA signatories in coordination with the ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance on Disaster Management (AHA Centre) and the Nippon Foundation reached?

Colonel Saw Kyaw Nyunt: Different organization has different implementation. Collaboration depends on the readiness of individuals. Relief aid from Nippon Foundation is delivered under the supervision of PPST. Distribution of rice to people is carried out in coordination with local governments. We also have the processes to support residential people who host the displaced persons.

 TLT: Nearly two million people have fled their homes after the coup. What are the obstacles for them to get humanitarian assistance? Who are the major beneficiaries in providing aid?

Colonel Saw Kyaw Nyunt: We are doing our best to ensure all the needy persons have access to humanitarian assistance. Under the circumstance of armed conflicts, we cannot provide assistance to all IDPs. So, we focus on the IDPs near our areas at the moment, and will expand to more areas.

 TLT: It was learned that you met the military chief after NCA anniversary event. What agreements have you reached?

Colonel Saw Kyaw Nyunt: We tried to invite all the leaders who signed NCA or took part in drafting NCA. The leaders who joined the event of 8th anniversary shared their experiences and views on NCA and pledges in the treaty. We also discussed challenges in implementing NCA. As it was not a meeting, we could not make future plans, but we developed over 10 points which should be seriously focused.

TLT: Could you talk about 10 points of agreement during the meeting with military chief?

Colonel Saw Kyaw Nyunt: We just made a workshop after the anniversary event. Basically, we need to take time for this. Only when  we could make more trusts for future peace-making and political talks, we could announce these agreements as we have decided that this is not the right time to disclose these issues.

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